Sunday, February 18, 2018
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Manheim Central comes back to beat Ephrata


Nick Farlow's emphatic kill from the middle of the net that gave Ephrata a 2-1 lead in its Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Two match with Manheim Central and seemed to say that, yes, Ephrata was going to grab and hold the momentum

So, the Barons needed to win the fourth set to say alive in the match and they did so rather easily, which was surprising and yet not so surprising at the same time.

The errors made by one team in one set were then made by the other team in the next. It was that goofy at times.

Manheim Central, bolstered by its fourth-set win, never trailed in the fifth set and won the match, 3-2 (25-19, 14-25, 23-25, 25-10, 15-7) in Manheim.

"We had a lot of energy from winning that fourth set," said Barons junior outside hitter Zach Wagner. "A lot of that carried over and made us play even harder."

In a match where nothing much carried over from one set to the next, the Barons got the benefits when the momentum finally stayed with one team.

"Every situation (prior to Thursday) when we've been down, we haven't come back so I think the guys learned a lot about themselves tonight," said Central coach Craig Dietrich. "When you're down like that and you're inexperienced, you have to reach back and find something. In the fourth set, we blocked extremely well and then in the fifth set, we focused on stopping (Nick) Farlow, their best player."

The Barons (3-2 league, 4-2 overall) got a pair of aces from Taylor Funk, Central's star basketball player who is playing volleyball for the first time, to grab a 16-9 lead in the first set. The Mounts (2-3, 3-5) went on a 7-0 run with Colt Wilwerth (four aces) on the serving line late in the set but couldn't come all the way back.

The tide turned in the second set, which was won by Ephrata with Hunter Lehman leading the way with his swings. The Mounts then set Farlow more in the third set and he delivered with six of his match-high 15 kills.

"There's a little inexperience on our roster," Dietrich said. "But Taylor has only been with us since the second week in March. Eric Patches (a senior) is playing for the first time. That explains the shifting of momentum a little bit. We can be really good at times and at other times, not so good."

But the fourth set was all Manheim from the start. The Barons led 6-1 then 9-2 then 16-7. Tucker Ford, who led the Barons with 13 kills, Dishon Shelley and Wagner were extremely effective in the fourth set.

"A big thing for us was to have a good first pass so that Micah (Hersheberger) could set the ball," Wagner said.

Three early kills from Funk and an aces from Patches got the Barons off to a good start in the fifth set. They took a 7-2 lead but Ephrata narrowed the lead to 7-5 on an ace by Farlow. A Shelley kill, one from Ford from the back row and an Ephrata error put Manheim in control at 10-5. Wagner's kill finished the set and match.

"This win was good for us," Wagner said. "After losing to Lancaster Mennonite and Cocalico, we wanted to show what we could do against a good team."

"I came in fully expecting to win and I think the players did," Dietrich said. "After two tough matches against Cocalico and Lancaster Mennonite, I think we're close and this team will get better as the season goes along."